Title: Imperative (1/??)

Author: moi

Rating: R (gets a little smutty later on)

Characters: Rose, Nine, Jack

Spoilers: Series One

Disclaimer: Standard disclaimers apply. They're like little dolls you can dress up and play with, but I always put my toys back when I'm done.

Archive: Feel free, just drop me a line so I know (my ego is like that)

Beta: Beta'd by the long-suffering Rosesbud. Encouragement provided by darkbunnyrabbit

A/N: Was going to hold off on this, but the folks at T&C pointed out there's a real lack of fic lately, and I'm trying to rectify that ;) And no, the Doctor doesn't want to really kill Mickey. He's just, y'know, going through some stuff.

Summary: Since Jack joined the crew of the TARDIS, the Doctor is being eaten alive by something. He quickly discovers that there is something absolutely imperative that he must do in order to rectify the situation.

XYZ

"Rose…I'm trying to resonate concrete."

Before his eyes could betray him, he turned back to the concrete wall in question. The Doctor was a man full of many dark and swirling emotions—or at least he liked to think he was. Sometimes, however, he had to admit just how simplistic of a nature he possessed. He'd gone from frustration with his current situation to full of hate the moment she said 'doesn't the universe implode or something, if you "dance.'"

White-hot blinding hate. He hated Mickey Smith, the idiot who'd been clutching Rose's knees, using pathetic mewling and whining to keep her from something she obviously wanted—the immature needy git. He hated Adam—and not just because that particular immature needy git had also turned out to be stupider than Mickey Smith (who had a wrong feeling about him—like he didn't belong in this time and place, which made the situation all the more confusing). But now he hated Jack Harkness.

It was OK to hate Jack Harkness, the Doctor decided, as he stared into the pale blue glow spreading out against the cement wall. First of all, 'Captain Jack' (why did she need to call him that?) had just vanished, secondly, Jack was the cause of their current predicament, and third, he was an idiot for letting this happen.

And Jack Harkness had dared to make Rose's eyes light up like that. Dared to make her…what? He didn't know. But when Rose's eyes sparkled, she got it in her head to…

What?

Imply he couldn't dance.

XYZ

Dancing was the root of all evil. That was the only conclusion he could come to. One'd think it was money, but it wasn't money. It was dancing.

And he'd been perfectly fine, until his awkward, lanky frame decided to remember how to move. NO, even that had been alright. Until he'd dipped her, and his hand was pressed to the small of her back, his hip brushing against hers.

It was just a hip.

Sometimes, people's hips happened to brush the hips of fellow travelers. When this was the case, it couldn't be anything other than accidental. It couldn't be anything other than innocent. Even if dancing had been involved.

Shoulders slumped, he hunched further in the jump chair, squinting in the dim green light of the console at the device he was attempting to fix. It would be easier to do if he could concentrate. It would be easier if he could stop thinking about dancing, and if he could stop thinking about hips, body parts brushing, hands on smooth, curved backs…

What the hell was he thinking about? He didn't even know. He had an exposed wire in one hand and a circuit that needed to be repaired in the other and neither was going to get themselves done, if he didn't stop thinking about dancing.

Dancing! What the hell…

He felt odd, like something wasn't quite right. His balance was off (though it seemed he'd finally found it, with the dancing, there at the end), his thoughts were racing to a few hours before, dancing in front of the console, and the feeling he had when he refused to let Jack cut in—the rush of looking right into Jack's eyes as he dipped her. Jack didn't get to dance with Rose. Only the Doctor got to—

Sighing in frustration, he put the part on the bench beside him, then stared up at the ceiling. "I'm developing a strange monomania," he informed his ship. Yes, he always had an unfair number of thoughts about Rose—he had since they met. Was Rose ok with this? Was Rose comfortable in her room? Did Rose like cheese sandwiches?

He supposed it was only fair, to a degree—she was his whole world now. With his planet and people gone, with their presence no longer in his head, what else did he have? There was no one else to talk to, no other presence in his life to fill the horrible silences. There was just Rose, beaming, bubbling and alive. Making it ok just by mere act of existing in his presence. It was only natural that he should grow attached.

She was the first person he'd actually spoken to—held a real conversation with—since the war. She questioned him, drew him out of himself, made him answer. All things he was grateful for, though he'd never be able to admit it. Of course he was worried about what she thought, whether she was happy out here in the universe, that her tea wasn't over-steeped.

That wasn't monomania. That was just concern for the only good thing in his world right now—a spirited, inquisitive girl who somehow managed to tolerate him—the most loathsome, disagreeable character in the universe. Yes, he was worried about her tea, dammit.

His palms rubbed at his stubbled hair in frustration. This feeling of being lost, adrift—it just wasn't working out for him.

The monomania was his sudden obsession with…not just her. And by her, he meant her needs, her thoughts, her feelings, her opinions, her preferences, her choices…all of the things that made Rose Tyler, well, Rose Tyler. It was his sudden obsession with…HER. With hips brushing and hands on smalls of backs…

He'd break out into bad poetry at any moment. If that happened, he'd just open the front door and hurl himself into the Time Vortex—there'd be nothing left for him if that happened.

Trying once again to repair the regulator, self-loathing twisting his lips in a sneer, he groaned in frustration with himself, and with his obsession with dancing.

XYZ

He was sitting alone again. Rose and Jack were clamouring away in the kitchen, happily. Something about baked goods curing the ills of the world or some other nonsense involving confectionary sugar and Rose licking batter from large wooden spoons in a manner he deemed wholly unable to continue watching. It didn't seem to bother either of them that they were just eating sticky goo out of the bowl and no actual baking seemed to be transpiring.

Captain Jack was laughing, trying to steal the spoon from Rose while she let out squeals of pleasure-or who knew what. Jack could just go straight to hell for that.

The Doctor was in the library, pretending to read a book. Mostly he was staring at the row of shelves in front of him, trying not to think of that scarf. He knew a thing or two about them, and he'd never seen a scarf look so… something. Something—he didn't know. But it had looked that way on Rose. And the stupid skirt, with the stupid tights, and that cherry smelling lip balm…

Then she'd had to wear the same damned outfit to the Slitheen homeworld. He'd tried to explain that the temperature would be different, bla bla bla, but she hadn't seen the need to change. Those bright brown eyes and those blonde plaits…

He despised Rose Tyler her adorableness (was that even a word?). He cursed her round cheeks, blushing in the cold, he cursed her chocolaty eyes, and he most certainly cursed that smile she'd given him when talking about her passport.

Oh yeah, and he was back to wanting Mickey Smith dead.

Perhaps he could cross his own time line and push Ricky the Idiot out in front of an Auton firing squad. He hoped karma or, well, something caught up with that boy, and he died. Repeatedly.

Possibly his own damned fault—he'd been watching the monitors, invading her private moments. He'd had some terribly lame excuse for Jack, but really he just wanted to watch her fingers tug the bright fuzzy scarf up and down from her chin a little more. Which was just sick. But at least he acknowledged that.

Ricky the Idiot had suggested they go to a hotel. THAT was enough to make him want to march out of the ship and set the boy on fire.

Of course, then she says yes. Which was enough to make him want to set himself on fire.

Couldn't he just go back to worrying about how she took her tea? Wasn't that obsession enough for one old Time Lord?

He slammed the book shut with a sigh, still staring at the shelves. Apparently it wasn't. NO. He had to go off and be obsessed with things he had no business being obsessed with.

He knew the exact moment it had started, too. It wasn't Rose asking why all the great looking ones had to do that. It wasn't her implying he wasn't male in every sense of the word. Five little words that had somehow condemned him. I'm trying to resonate concrete.

Was there some sort of power in those words? Had he cast some spell over himself that had caused this to move from obsession with tea to obsession with scarves? He'd been living with this sense of her being his entire world (it was only natural, he told himself again—she and the TARDIS were really all he had in the universe) for nearly a year. Nearly a year of fretting over whether she'd like where they were going, worrying about when she'd get bored with this life and want to leave, contemplating exactly which type of tea and in what quantity would best suit the anticipated mood of the day.

While he would have mocked such thoughts a hundred or five hundred years ago, right now they seemed perfectly normal. Normal and preferable to this burning inside of him, this fretting over flesh whenever the back of her hand brushed his, worrying about hips pressed against hips if Jack smiled at her too warmly and contemplating how best to kill Jack and make it look like an accident, so that their party of three could return to a party of two, and Universe-willing, put some sort of lid on the thing consuming him alive.

He'd blame the war.

It didn't make him want to drown Jack in his own pudding any less, but it helped him live with himself.

Deciding he'd go mad if he had to listen to their chasing each other about the galley any more, he left the library, walking down and away, as far as he could get from the main floors. There had to be some storage room, somewhere, that he could invest himself in cleaning. Something so far away that he couldn't hear her over-sugared, too-caffeinated cries of delight—something so secluded he could avoid this feeling for just a bit longer.

They'd go to Feudal Japan tomorrow. Men with swords was just the thing to get the blood pumping.

No, wait. That's the last thing he—

To distract him. That's what he'd meant. Distract him, them. Whatever.

This was not happening to him. He refused to let it.

TBC…